Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for May 2nd, 2017

How to Wait Out “Life, Interrupted”

with 3 comments

Folks, I continue to be in a holding pattern due to what I’m going to call “life, interrupted.” As there’s a lot of stuff going on here that I can’t talk about, I’d rather talk about my coping strategies to deal with all the stress (the “life, interrupted” stuff), in the hopes that if one of you ever has a similar situation, maybe you’ll remember that you’re not alone.

I want to write every day. Most of the time, I have a lot of other stuff to do, including  editing, trying to help family, supporting friends, taking care of my health, and so forth. Writing is very important, so when all these other things crowd it out during a crisis, I get extremely frustrated because I’m not able to do very much due to the circumstances at hand.

What do I do to try to combat this frustration?

Mostly, I wait it out. Once the stressful situation passes, I can do more.

But how I wait it out may be of interest.

If I get a story idea, I write it down. I write down whatever I have, which usually is the idea itself, maybe a bit of dialogue or description, and a potential title. These things help me go back and figure out what it was that so captivated me, and actually work on it later.

In addition, I think a lot about my stories. I don’t just say, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Instead, I think about what I want to do next. What seems to be going on with my stories. What needs to be done, and how am I going to go about doing it?

So I at least stay in the mental frame of mind that I need to be in, hoping I can get a few minutes here or there to work on it.

Finally, I try to be good to myself and realize I’m not staying away from my writing because I’m slow, stupid, or anything like that. It’s that I truly am under stress and just cannot devote enough time to get writing done at such a time. (Big stressors include people in the hospital, myself undergoing medical tests, being sick to the point all I can do is sleep, etc.)

Why do I mention the last part? Because I really hate not doing anything. It annoys me something fierce.

But sometimes, the best thing you do to help yourself is to rest. Once you rest, you should have enough energy to do what needs to be done…and at the top of the list for any writer (not just me) is writing.

My view is simple: If you need to rest, do it. If you are under stress, admit it. And if you can do anything about your writing at such a time, including planning, thinking hard about what to do next, or actually getting some words written, count that as a major victory.

And then, when the big stressor passes (as big stressors invariably do, one way or another), get back to work on your work(s)-in-progress.

That’s what works for me.

So, what works for you as a coping strategy to deal with stress? Tell me about it in the comments!

Written by Barb Caffrey

May 2, 2017 at 12:39 pm